Jon Jones is one of the greatest mixed martial artists ever. Jones is a former two-time UFC light heavyweight champion, undefeated in 14 title fights, a UFC record. Jon will finally make his long-awaited comeback, this time at heavyweight against Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 for the title. And all the while, he has used the moniker of “Bones” as his nickname in MMA.
But where did this nickname for the light heavyweight GOAT come from? It turns out this nickname has its roots all the way back in Jon’s time as a high schooler. Despite their paths diverging later, Jon, like his Super Bowl-winning brothers, also played football in the Union-Endicott High School team. He played in the defensive lineman position for the team.
Jones said that, back then, all of his coaches and teammates called him “bony,” referring to his skinny frame. Jones explained in an interview ahead of UFC 165, saying, “Whenever I would get down in my football stance, I just had these wicked skinny legs and I was just all ‘bony’.
“So everyone went with Bones. And when I started my MMA career, I thought it would be to have a tribute to my hometown by naming myself, “Bones”,” continued Jon. And this tribute is now ubiquitous in Jon’s life. Aside from being his ring name, his Twitter username is also “Bony”.
What is the meaning behind Jon Jones’ nickname, “Bones”?
As established before, Jon Jones was not always the hulking heavyweight he is today. During his high school days, Jones carried a much smaller frame. And the meaning of his nickname also lies in his skinny frame in those days. In 2023, Jon Jones looks nothing like himself back in high school.
Even Jon’s description, except for the part about his height, sounds like he is describing someone else. “I was like 6 feet 4 [inches], which is the same height I am now but I was like 170 [lbs], now I’m 230 [lbs]. So, I was way skinnier and I was on the football team.” Jon Jones revealed this in the same interview before his legendary title fight against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165.
At this point, the name “Bones” in MMA has become synonymous with the former light heavyweight champion. But Jon had a truly hysterical nickname as an alternative to his current one. And he will be glad that his better judgment prevailed when choosing his MMA nickname.